My dear friends on the 19th hole,
A most happy two thousand and sixteen to you.
Last month I extolled the virtues of a cocktail what with to fill yourself full of holiday cheer. But alas, the festivities must come to an end and the Januarys must begin. This year, it has come to my attention that a fair number of my comrades were trying to make the month even more beleaguered than usual. They were embarking on a self-styled kamikaze mission called “Dry January” — a month-long abstention from alcohol.
Now, being the ‘intrepid reporter’ sort, I wanted to fully grasp this Dry movement. To really understand the machinations behind the motivations behind the meaning behind the story. In other words, I wanted to be the sunken Luxardo cherry in a well-made Old Fashioned, getting beyond the layers of rye and muddled sugar into something more complex and magical at the bottom of the glass.
Yes. My own personal Dry January began on the evening of January first.
It was hell.
Of course, for the first 48 hours or so all was well. A few sparkling waters and a busy 9-to-5. The next couple days rolled by as uneventful as a Budweiser. It wasn’t until I settled into the chair on Friday night with a good book in my right hand that the left hand – my scotch hand – began to realize something was amiss.
“Where’s the whiskey?” it fidgeted.
“We’re taking a break,” I answered.
“Ah. I see…I see. So no whiskey is what you’re saying.”
“That is correct.”
“How about a Campari and soda then. Lighter fare.”
“Open the fridge then, let’s see what the Trappists have bottled.”
“Hm. Just what am I supposed to then…”
“Well…rest on the chair. Help turn pages. Relax.”
My hand balled up into a tight fist and said nothing. From that point on, my days began to tick by more slowly.
Noonan’s log. January 12th Dinner sans wine feels like watching American Idol: pointless, awful.
Noonan’s log. Janurary 13th. Freezing outside. Can feel cold in toes. Would love to fan the internal hearth of the stomach region with a nip of the Lagavulin, i.e. put a little fire in the belly. But alas, cannot.
Noonan’s log. Janurary 14th. So…thirsty. So …very…thirsty.
Noonan’s log. January 15th.
It’s worth noting that in the midst of this dry spell, the good Lord tested my mettle by asking David Bowie to play in the heavenly choir with Lou Reed. If you didn’t feel the urge to dry your eyes and pour one out for Mr. Stardust, well then I can do nothing for you and neither can your collection of Justin Bieber albums.
It’s also worth noting, that in the mid-1970s, the thin White Duke subsisted only on milk, red peppers and cocaine. Yes, he was paranoid and delusional. But he was also prodigious and brilliant. The least I could do was follow suit. Er, that is, by keeping booze out of the daily meal plan for a bit. I’ll leave the teeth-grinding-up-all-night-colombian-marching-powder for the rockstars, thank you very much.
As my Dry January slogged on into Parched January, I must admit I felt better. Even managed to shed an ol’ pound or three. I began to contemplate the “mediums” of my fine Criquet attire hanging in a long-abandoned corner of my closet. My lady companion said my sleeping habits were less ‘thrashy’ and ‘snorey’. I did not miss my glass with my nightly reading materials. My left hand was totally agreeable and silent.
This could be the start of a new Noonan. Mostly.
The other day, I decided to slightly amend my teetotalerness, and allow myself a glass of the red stuff. It’s only right, considering that a perfectly good porterhouse gave itself up to be on my plate (turning away the cabernet would’ve been an insult and sacrilege).
And that’s where I am now. And balanced is a fine place to be.
To those who undertake a Dry January through to the end, I doff my cap to you. Your willpower and your liver are certainly stronger than mine. To those who need the occasional tipple to get them through the cold, dreary, golfless 60-odd days and nights until March brings promise of 7am tee times, warmer air, and the fairer sex adorned in short shorts, I raise my glass in accord and say: “Hear, hear!” Or rather “Here, here!…just a little more wine, waiter, if you please.”
Until next month, my friends. Be the ball, check ignition, and may peace be with you.